Annie sat and watched sullenly from the curb as the last of the glitter came to rest. Maybe with someone to share it with, glitter might have been festive. Alone on the curb with only the company of an empty street, it was just falling glitter. She turned her cheeks up to catch it as it fell, but a gentle breeze pushed it past her and it settled innocently to the asphalt in front of her.
“What am I doing?” she thought. “Has it come to this?”
The street looked grey and desolate. The buildings cold and dispassionate. Soon the world would be awake, life would continue on in its bustling way, and no one would likely even notice the little gold patch on the street in front of where she now sat.
She turned the vial around in her fingers this way and that. It was empty now. Holding out an open palm, she turned it upside down and shook it futilely. A few insignificant flakes fell to her disappointed hand. She stared blankly as it closed to a fist around them.
“If only it would rain, I could dance,” she thought.
Life sucks sometimes. It just does. There’s really nothing wrong about it, it’s just that magic there to remind us how wonderful it is when life doesn’t suck. But, there was no reminder now, and the glitter masked nothing anymore. Stephen was gone. The stories were lies, Corrie was real, and the golden speckles that failed to cheer were a sad metaphor for the moments of joy and the fond memories Annie so desperately wanted to cling to.
“Damn him!” Her anger was never far from the surface anymore. “I was a good girlfriend! Son of a bitch! I was a good girlfriend!” The word “why” stopped her thoughts. She couldn’t let herself cry it one more time. She stared back down at her clenched fist.
“You did this, Stephen,” she yelled silently at her white knuckles. “You let me know when you think she loves you the way I did. You just let me know.” Her lips mouthed along with the words and she froze in horror when she realized they were coming out loud this time.
Nervously, she looked up and down the street. Thankfully, there was no one there to hear. Only one small dark figure too far down the street to have heard anything. The relief made her laugh out loud.
“Yes, I guess it has come to this.”
Then, for a moment, it suddenly seemed like there really was magic. Somehow the glitter had refilled itself and there was a whole handful of it bigger than all the others before. Annie allowed herself to indulge in the dream. She thrust her hand upward opening her fingers to free the beautiful little sparkling flakes of hope into the sky.
Eyes closed, head tilted back, she watched the glittering cascade falling down upon her face. The tiny flakes tickled her cheeks, one after another, lighter than butterfly kisses.
“That’s it!” came her moment of revelation. “I’m free! I’ve always been free! I can do whatever I want if I don’t let assholes like Stephen get in my way.”
A cold shock on her cheek just under her right eye interrupted her. Startled, she opened her eyes and looked up. The grey morning overcast was stubbornly refusing to give way to the dawn, but there were no clouds.
“Dew? Haha,” she laughed. “I really get to be a flower!”
The dark figure down the street was much closer now and Annie forgot the dew drop. It was a young woman, possibly close to her age. Her stride had a funny gait to it the way a young filly might, but it was graceful and confident. And the girl was walking straight toward her.
Annie watched silently as the stranger approached and drew close enough to see. She was thin with long legs, walking in tennis shoes. Her feet had a slight outward turn that created the horse-like gait as she walked. Her hair was sandy blonde, shaggy bangs draped around a thin and pretty face.
The girl stopped in front of Annie and looked casually around the evidence of her private party before turning back with a smile.
Another cold shock hit Annie’s arm above her left wrist as she stared at the girl’s peaceful smile. It pulled her attention and then another hit her face and then another… She looked up and held out her hand. “Rain in the middle of July?”
Her attention turned back to the sandy-haired girl, as one by one, the droplets promised to be more than morning dew. The girl held out her hand as if for an introduction.
Annie reached out hers and the girl grabbed it. There was no handshake. She pulled Annie to her feet.
The droplets became drops and in moments it was pouring around them. The cool drops of rain danced down Annie’s cheeks like tears of joy as she watched the girl’s shaggy bangs turn dark and to brown. Who was this girl?! Her smile was so easy to trust, and she said nothing!
Her new company turned next to her and pushed her right foot out to the left across and in front, and then she slid it to the right through the quickly puddling street. A tiny wake rooster-tailed from the front of her toes. No sign of the glitter remained.
Annie couldn’t believe it. She looked at the girl’s face but there was only a gesture from her eyes, so she followed it. She reached out her own foot, and copied the movement, out in front to the left and then a sweep to the right.
The strange girl’s face lit up as if the sun shone through the rain. She pushed her left foot forward in an opposite pattern out onto the street and waited for Annie to follow. In moments, the two girls were spinning in the street. An invisible orchestra strummed the pavement as they danced about between the curbs. Laughter joined the music of the pattering raindrops, and they danced.
After a while it seemed that as easily as they had stepped together, they both came to the same realization at the same time. They stopped and as quickly as they did, the rain began to subside.
“I’m Annie,” Annie offered her dance partner.
The girl looked at her strangely. “I kn…” she started and then paused. The look passed to one of uncertainty. “I’m Sarah,” she finally finished.
“Sarah? That’s so funny, that’s my diary’s name!”
Sarah smiled. “Yes, I suppose it is.”
Annie felt a sudden rush of excitement. She closed her eyes and smiled, thinking back to how miserable she had been what seemed like ages ago now. Sarah was going to be her perfect friend! She opened her eyes again and blinked in disbelief.
Sarah was gone. People were beginning to appear on the street busying themselves with their morning tasks. Annie looked about but none of them were Sarah. The rain was gone too and only the wet street in front of her where the glitter had washed completely away offered any proof it had even come.
© 2011 Anne Schilde